[private] Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of Roatán and our sister Islands becoming autonomous. This dream is widely shared by a multitude of Bay Islanders. We have many role models – most of the other Caribbean Islands I have visited have enjoyed autonomy for generations. For instance, the Bahamas declared their independence in 1973 after three centuries of British colonial rule. Role models are important because people seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.
At this particular time in our history it is more relevant than ever that we energize ourselves and use every avenue possible to achieve this goal. I am a firm believer that the harder you work, the luckier you get. The current problems facing this country are enormous. We should not have to suffer for the incompetence and corrupt leadership of the mainland. We deserve much better.
On July 24, I received a phone call from U.S. congressman, Democrat of Massachusetts James McGovern, who confirmed the fact that the leadership in Tegucigalpa was responsible for the mess we find ourselves in mainly because of the manner which in the former president was deposed. I found myself trying to defend the indefensible.
I also believe it’s fair to say that we Bay Islanders, although we are suffering from the consequences of decisions made in Tegucigalpa, had little to do with what actually took place. Well, I propose the perfect antidote: autonomy.
For years I have been focusing on the November 1859 treaty which was really a draft, agreed to by John Lennox Wyke and Honduran president’s envoy, Francisco Cruz. The treaty then had to be ratified by both houses of the British parliament. I can assure you that the final product that emerges from these ratifications rarely resembles the original version. It is my contention that the original treaty was significantly amended by the British parliament.
In the original contract we Bay Islanders basically got nothing. I believe that there were members of the British parliament that understood this principle and made various amendments that benefited us in significant ways. Queen Victoria’s final letter sent to the inhabitants of the Bay Islands in May 1860 was read at a public meeting by then lieutenant governor Thomas Price at Coxen Hole. Queen Victoria’s final words were, “My loving subjects, I now leave you to govern yourselves accordingly.” In my lexicon that translates to autonomy.
According to my research, the governor General Uwins Elwin was in London at the time trying to have the treaty revoked. There were various demands which my late grandmother Joana Randleston, whose father John Randleston was born in Scotland U.K., assured me were granted. Included are: the freedom of religious observance for present and future generations, non-military service for Bay Islanders, freedom to elect our own representatives, ability to implement laws formulated and regulated by the local population and their representatives, the use of the English language in the counts and public records for perpetuity, and a key provision that we would be governed by resident officers of our own choosing.
Since I have never discovered or even heard of a document disclaiming these rights or denying these guarantees, my logical conclusion is that my late grandmother’s memory and knowledge were totally accurate.
We have the documentation, what we need is the courage and the will to come together as one people and aggressively peruse what is rightfully ours. Let us not allow what we cannot do interfere with what we can do. We have dedicated educated and courageous individuals who can not only lead, but help us establish a prosperous, honest, law abiding community. To accomplish this we must elect individuals who are willing to put the common good before their own personal interest- a contingent that would pretty much disqualify most of the current office holders. We desperately need bold new leadership.
We may never get another chance. We must take charge of our own destiny, otherwise we will become irrelevant in our own land, if we are to survive as a people with a history and a future. [/private]